Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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highway cover

trellis w/ivy covered highways and carbon
  (+12, -2)(+12, -2)
(+12, -2)
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The problem: Highways are ugly and polluting, especially here in NYC where kids get asthma while diesels idle next to apartment buildings, parks and views are hacked by multi-lane monstrosities left like shit stains on the underwear of long-dead urban planners.
Cheap & easy partial solution:
Building trellises or scaffolds to support ivy or crab grass or another plant (perhaps a sterile strain to prevent an unwanted invasion) with high rates of photosynthesis in cold and dry weather would provide health, aesthetic, and possible financial benefits:
a) the plants would provide some CO2 sequestration and have a dampening effect on air pollution. Covered roads would also discourage sightseeing and other non-essential driving.
b) the covered roads would be less ugly
c) the covered roads would probably need less plowing and salt, so less damage from plows and salt, and by discouraging non-essential driving we minimize normal wear and tear, all lowering upkeep costs.
what kind of trellis construction is cheapest & strongest?
what kind of plant would absorb the most C02 in all seasons and be easiest to maintain?
stephenc, Dec 28 2006

Baked in Germany http://www.flickr.c...659/in/photostream/
[kinemojo, Feb 16 2007]

Photosynthesis http://en.wikipedia...synthesis#Discovery
"... the bulk of a plant's biomass comes from the inputs of photosynthesis, not the soil itself." [BunsenHoneydew, Feb 16 2007]


       d) the covered roads would help reduce sun glare, a problem that causes collisions   

       Bun. The plant of choice would vary by geographic location, based on the available indigenous vegetation. The trellises would be constructed from available recycled materials.
ed, Dec 28 2006

       I have long wondered why states with heavy weather damage to roads don't cover them so, bun!
DrCurry, Dec 28 2006

       Didn't Napoleon do this with poplar trees?
pertinax, Dec 29 2006

       You'd need to make these high enough so that large vehicles don't damage them and can still use the roads...   

       Also, if the ivy or whatever blocks sunlight, will it necessitate the use of headlights, thus canceling (or even worsening) the environmental effect?
emjay, Dec 29 2006

       A nice concept, but in states here in the US that allow a lot of salt on the roads, the trees along these roads are all brown if not totally dead.
Without any sunlight in winter, even more salt would be needed to melt the ice. Maybe this idea would work best in a tropical climate.
xandram, Dec 29 2006

       Would ice on the roads be as much of an issue if the roads were covered?   

       Presumably there'd still be some freezing, but the amount of salt that would be needed would be lessened by great amounts, I reckon.   

       EDIT: [pertinax]: yes, he did. Napoleon told his ministers that he wanted all of the roads in the south of France to be lined with trees so that his armies could march in the shade. According to legend, one of his advisors said, "Sir, it will take 20 years for trees to make enough shade," and Napoleon replied, "You had better get started, then."
shapu, Dec 29 2006

       // there is no evidence to show any plant is a net consumer of CO2.//   

       Um, what? How do they add to their (mostly carbon) cellulose bulk then? Eating kites?   

       I'm assuming the shade would be partial and dappled, so no headlights needed. With the right choice of plant spp, you could harvest for ethanol or biodiesel.   

       If your trellis is hinged at each side and doesn't meet in the middle, it could be drawbridged up out of the way for the occasional overly high load.
BunsenHoneydew, Dec 30 2006

       My wife and I have batted this idea back and forth, but with solar cells. The greenery would look nice, but it ought to be something native to the country. Bun.
elhigh, Jan 09 2007

       Major problem during storms. Rather than just a bit of windwrack on the roads, all those trellises and all the plants on them will be blocking traffic creating a huge clearing problem. There is a reason they clear a wide space beside freeways.   

       Sorry, bone.
Galbinus_Caeli, Jan 09 2007

       I absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide every time I take a bite of food (well except for velveeta and spam, of course).   

       Plants and animals are mostly Oxygen, Hydrogen, Carbon, and Nitrogen. These all start out as atmospheric gasses (well, the carbon, could be a solid, but it is inaccessible to living things until converted to carbon dioxide). Plants use solar energy to convert these gasses into the solid form of sugars, starches, proteins and fats, which are all molecules consisting of the above elements (with tiny admixtures of other things). Animals eat plants, and we humans eat both. But it all starts out as atmospheric gasses and solar energy.
Galbinus_Caeli, Jan 11 2007

       I could accept //there is no evidence to show any //mature// plant is a net consumer of CO2//, however...   

       When a tree grows from an acorn to a mighty oak, it puts on a hell of a lot of mass. A large proportion of that mass is carbon, IIRC. If I grew that much, I would be drawing in mass from somewhere, mostly by eating it. Trees don't eat, they photosynthesise. [link]
BunsenHoneydew, Feb 16 2007


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